It seems only too fitting that a guy from Northern Ireland who has starred in historical dramas like the HBO series “Rome” and epic films like Kenneth Brannaugh’s upcoming “Thor,” is currently seen onscreen playing the infamous Danny Greene in “Kill the Irishman.”
The film is based on the true story of the Irish-American mobster, who in the mid-’70s fell in with the Mafia of Cleveland, Ohio. Once a deal went bad and the Mafia made several failed attempts to assassinate Greene, his life became legend. Through the investigation of those murder attempts, major organized crime families throughout the United States were brought to justice.
“He basically put together a band of noble Irish stock and took the Italians to war,” Stevenson explains of his character. Even though Stevenson is used to playing tough characters, he found considerable depth in Greene, who was known to be a voracious reader and quite fastidious about his health.
“Couched in this extremely violent world of lifelong criminals and monsters, there’s this man who is actually on an incredible journey that he’s not even aware of until it happens to him,” Stevenson explains.
And while Greene revered his Irish roots, Stevenson remarks on the distinctions between himself and the Irish-American.
“[He was] growing up as an American — an Irish-American but an American. He’d never been [to Ireland] and he’ll never go,” Stevenson says. “But the thing about the Celtic resonances — it’s even older than religion. It’s not about being Catholic or Protestant or whatever. It’s not about being labeled Irish from Limerick or Irish from Dublin. There’s something older at work. If he had been born in a different time, he probably would’ve been knighted. But in this day and age, his path was different.”
Follow Heidi Patalano on Twitter at @HeidiatMetro.
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